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OPWS kills two bandits, recovers AK-47, others in Benue


Benue State

In its continued efforts to rid Benue State of criminals, Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Wednesday evening, engaged bandits in a fierce gun battle at Abaji in Shitile axis of Katsina Ala Local Council of the state, killing two and injuring nine others.

The Guardian also learned that the troops recovered one AK-47 rifle and some ammunition during the encounter with the bandits.


Local sources intimated that if not for the quick response of the troops to a distress call, the bandits would have killed many people as the incident took place on a market day.

According to the sources, on the arrival of the troops to the market, the bandits engaged them in a heavy shootout.

A source at Abaji, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the troops routed the bandits by superior firepower, following which two of the bandits were neutralised, while others escaped with gunshot wounds.


A soldier was reportedly among the injured during the encounter.

The source, however, stated that the armed bandits had earlier invaded the Abaji market and opened fire on the people, and in the process, killed one trader before troops came to engage them.

The criminals at Abaji, suspected to be Gana boys, were hunted and two fell to military bullets, bringing the causality figure to three.

“Around 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., we suddenly heard gunshots around the Abaji market and people started running for dear lives. But the bandits continued shooting, and in the process, killed one person.


“We quickly alerted OPWS troops and they responded immediately to repel the armed bandits. The army went after the armed gang and engaged them in a gun duel, killing some of them in the process. The OPWS was able to kill two of them because we saw two dead bodies in addition to the one that was earlier killed in the marketplace, bringing the number of deaths to three,” the source said.

Katsina-Ala Local Council Chairman, Alfred Atera, also confirmed that one person was killed and others injured in the twilight attack.

Atera told newsmen on the phone that the bandits invaded the market in military uniform and on motorcycles.


When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, confirmed the incident.

“On March 24, 2021, about 6:30 pm while traders were closing from Abaji Market in Kastina-Ala, bandits, who disguised themselves as buyers, started shooting sporadically and killed one person while nine others were injured,” he said.

“Joint operation of the police and other security agencies returned fire and repelled the bandits to the forest with gunshot injuries,” she stated.


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